Be respectful to others as you grow. . . If we lack respect for one group,
then there is a tendency for that attitude to spread. It becomes
infectious and no one becomes safe from the ravages of prejudice.
Most of you know that my biggest pet peeve is the lack of respect and loss of vales in today's world. I rant about it all the time. Young people will practically knock you down to grab a seat. The following is a true story.
It was a few years back, before I used a cane, that I got onto a crowded train. My back was paining me so that day. There were three teen-age girls who brushed quickly by me, almost knocking me down, so they could grab the one available seat for one of them. Then, they actually laughed at me. "Look at that lady. She wants this seat so bad. Well, she is not going to get it." And the three of them got such a kick out of it. Then, when they got up to leave, she looked over at me as I hobbled over to take the seat and yelled real loud, "See? What did I tell you? She couldn't wait for me to get up so she could grab the seat."
That is total ignorance. I mean, when you put the numbers together, I was old enough to be her great-grandmother. I never forgot that incident, and it remains as clear in my head as if it were yesterday. You are probably wondering why I just stood there and let it happen, but, the fact is, here in the city, there are teen-age girls deliberately on the prowl to pick a fight. Take, for example, the time that a girl was sitting on the train shoving a plate of spaghetti down her throat like she had never eaten before. Her friends all thought it was funny. Spaghetti was falling all over the floor and on the seat next to her. When an older woman chided her about her rude manners, the got up and pulled the woman out of her seat by her hair and began punching her to the glee of her peers. I'm not going to let that happen to me.
Let's face it. Those are two extreme examples of the rudeness of youth. And probably in both situations those girls were just up to no good, hoping to stir someone up so they had an excuse to fight. Usually they will just sit there and ignore you. Sometimes they will look at you, look at the cane, and you think that they are going to offer you as seat, but they quickly look away pretending that they just didn't see. But, I am not going to get into that in this post. What I really want is to share something with you that I happened upon the other day. I thought the message in it is worth putting out there.
The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter’s day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman’s feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.
Down the street, with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of “school let out,”
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.
Nor offered a helping hand to her -
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses’ feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
“I’ll help you cross, if you wish to go.”
Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
“She’s somebody’s mother, boys, you know,
For all she’s aged and poor and slow,
“And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
“If ever she’s poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.”
And “somebody’s mother” bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was “God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody’s son, and pride and joy!”
Mary Dow Brine